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Marines, Soldiers train IP for the future

1 Feb 2008 | Lance Cpl. Shawn Coolman

Marines with 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, and the Army’s 170th Military Police Company routinely work side-by-side to train the Iraqi Police in the Haditha area.

 “We go out with the IP to integrate them into our patrols so they can learn and better their techniques, tactics and procedures,” said Cpl. Frederick M. Thornton, 23, a machine gunner with Company W, 3rd Bn, 23rd Marines, who is from Birmingham, Ala. “Every other day we go out with the IP and (on the other days) they go out on their own or with the Police Transition Team.”

 The PTT team is working in conjunction with the Marines of 3/23 to prepare the IP for the future.

 “We teach the Iraqis administration and investigation tactics just like a normal police force,” said Army Staff Sgt. Chris A. Collinsworth, 30, PTT team chief from Fairborn, Ohio. “We’re taking the IP and transitioning them into more of a community police force instead of going after the insurgents.”

 The IP have come a long way, but still have a long way to go until they assume full control of the area.

 “Right now the IP do a lot of joint tasks with Coalition Forces, but we are still teaching them a lot,” Collinsworth said. “We want them to have the structure down before we let them patrol fully on their own. We oversee their operations and we give them classes on law enforcement. We want everything to be IP lead.”

 The IP are beginning to take charge of their own and continuing to build strong relationships with the locals in the area.

 “They go out with us when we go out, talk with the people of the community and hand out food to the locals,” Collinsworth said. “The IP handed out school supplies to the local school here. It was the first time that the school received any supplies from anyone.

 “IP are real good people here; the kids in the area love them. I’ll go behind the IP with my interpreter and talk to the residents about security in the area and it’s always positive.”

 Every month, the IP station receives money for food rations, but they are taking part of that money and renovating the station. The renovations should be complete in April.

 The IP now have a place to call their own and have the foundation for a bright future.

 “These guys are really good people that care a lot about their country and want to do the right things,” Collinsworth concluded.